Latest Articles in Design 101

The Jersey Corridor Project, a linear city proposal by Peter Eisenman and Michael Graves, among others, appeared in a 1965 issue of <i>Life</i>  magazine. Illustration courtesy Thomas A. Briner.

Linear City

Designers everywhere are eyeing the Interstate Highway system's bounteous and boundless real estate with ideas from tiny turbines to maglev rail lines. Mid-century urban idealism may not be dead after all.
June 10, 2010
an inroduction to city parks illustration

An Introduction to City Parks

An afternoon in the park has evolved from picnicking in the local cemetery to sun-bathing atop a retrofitted railroad trestle. Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron walks us through the best, worst, and future of city parks.
June 9, 2010
shine and rise light sleeper duvet thumbnail

Shine and Rise

The catalog of smart textiles for the future is teeming with cognitive intelligence—fabrics that serve as interactive surfaces or are embedded with sheets of tiny microprocessors, little solar batteries, or antimicrobial properties. But these materials may miss the point. The textile arts, after all, have their origins in comfort—rugs that keep our feet off the cold floor, curtains and wall hangings that keep out the draft, quilts that keep us cozy at night. What may have more value, both stylistically and holistically, is not so much a conventionally smart textile, but one that has emotional intelligence—kind of an electric blanket for the soul.
April 27, 2010
the wrong impression detail embossed wall red thumbnail

The Wrong Impression

Going for the hand touch isn’t exactly foolproof. An easy way to miss: embossed wall coverings. Lincrusta was originally invented in 1877 as a kind of textile-linoleum hybrid by linoleum progenitor Frederick Walton, and was made with gelled linseed oil backed by a heavy canvas. It functioned as a kind of molded linoleum and was offered up as an economic alternative to hand-carved plaster. It continues to be used today, not only as a wall covering but for all manner of decorative borders, dados, and friezes, the subtle sense of dimension suggesting wood, pressed tin, or even leather.  
April 27, 2010
an introduction to modern textiles textile illustration

An Introduction to Modern Textiles

If the design world feels like an endless parade of products, then the gnashing maws of industrial production assuredly underpin it all. Take a look at how leading manufacturers make what they make, with a special eye on how to clean up what is often a messy act.
April 27, 2010
tech styles hands holding sphere illustration

Tech Styles

March 27, 2010
sew awesome xorel embroider detail

Sew Awesome

“Who we are arises directly from what our bodies can do,” writes Richard Sennett in his recent book, The Craftsman. In his spirited defense of how making material things can enlarge one’s life, Sennett reevaluates the place of the handmade in the digital age. Certainly in design we are familiar with the idea that touch is often a necessary antidote to high tech, and that the ether of the electronic world has honed our appetite for the tactile and material. Heather Bush agrees. A designer at Carnegie Fabrics, she considers ways in which to apply craft technique to hard-use textiles. She was also willing to rethink the notion that handwork is exclusively about limited production, high costs, and the imprint of individuality. Tuned in to the embroidery that was so ubiquitous in fashion a few years back, Bush decided it had a place in high-performance wall coverings and upholstery.
March 26, 2010
101 manufacturing chair

Absolutely Fabricated

We talked to a handful of movers and makers to see what's in store for the wider manufacturing world.
March 26, 2010
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Let’s Get Small

Hammers and nails are out, friends, and as the (patent) pending nanotech revolution shows, manufacturing is on the eve of the atom.
March 26, 2010